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  #1  
Old 06-23-2014
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Health Insurance While Cruising

I did a quick search and did not find much information. Feel free to point me somewhere if this has been discussed.

How does health insurance work when you are cruising? Let's say you are in a different country every month to six months. Do you buy a policy for each country? Are there companies that cover you in any country? Will rates be different for each country? Medical costs can vary from country to country...probably the quality of care too.

Thanks in advance for the responses.
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Old 06-23-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

I think if you keep searching you should find several discussions on this topic. Most people who are cruising self insure since the cost of healthcare in most countries is quite reasonable. Generally traveller health insurance will cover you in all countries you visit. I would want to have coverage at home if something really nasty happened an just pay the bills as you go. I had to go to a very fancy, new hospital in Papeete and was treated directly for an hour and a half in the ER for $120. The private hospital in Fiji was $12 for a doctor visit (did not find out what the public hospital was, very possibly free as it was in South Africa for visitors. The quality of health care is generally very good but you really want to able to head home for care if need be.
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Old 06-23-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
I think if you keep searching you should find several discussions on this topic. Most people who are cruising self insure since the cost of healthcare in most countries is quite reasonable. Generally traveller health insurance will cover you in all countries you visit. I would want to have coverage at home if something really nasty happened an just pay the bills as you go. I had to go to a very fancy, new hospital in Papeete and was treated directly for an hour and a half in the ER for $120. The private hospital in Fiji was $12 for a doctor visit (did not find out what the public hospital was, very possibly free as it was in South Africa for visitors. The quality of health care is generally very good but you really want to able to head home for care if need be.
Further to the foregoing, a friend of ours that has been cruising in the Caribbean for the last several years needed surgery for a hernia this past winter. The surgery was performed in Trinidad by a US trained, interned, physician with two months of follow-up care at a cost of slightly more than $1,200 US. Coincidentally, I needed similar surgery here this past February. My expenses here ended up being somewhat more than $57,000.00 not including the follow-up care. His total cost of care was less than the deductible on our health insurance!

FWIW...
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

This will depend greatly on your personal resources to get back home in an emergency or deal with self-insuring relatively minor issues.

However, catastrophic policies (ie. those that only kick in after huge deductibles, so you can self insure offshore) have become harder, if not impossible, to locate after Obamacare mandates.
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

When we cruised, we kept our Blue Cross, with the idea that we would self insure for small things, and fly home for anything serious. Get the medical air evac insurance. That's the one you need in a third world country.

But, a lot of cruising destinations do have decent hospitals and care. It really does depend on where you are when sickness strikes.
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

Some of my cruising friends use: World Nomads Travel Insurance - Travel Insurance Quote
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

Thanks for all of the replies. Very useful.
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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

gb, you might want to contact come insurers or at least look at the policy terms most have available on the obamacare web site.

Most are moving to provide coverage mainly through "plan members" only. Go outside the plan (group) and now you need a policy that covers you outside the group. That's easy to get--but often quite pricey. If it covers you outside of the group, the insurer usually doesn't care where you are, or how far outside the group you are.

Medevac or transport coverage back to the US is something else again. Get injured in Venezula or Columbia, and do you know where the nearest Class 1 Trauma Center is? Back in Miami, US of A.

Plenty to be gleaned from many threads here and elsewhere, but check the policies, because this year many things have been changing, and many insurers are playing coy in order to duck out of new costs. Like one major carrier, who just didn't send out plan ID numbers for nearly two months (no ID? Just try to get an rx filled, it can't be billed to the insurer) or send out plan coverage lists and policies for six months. No list of members? Right, then try finding a doctor on your plan. Great way to ensure the members won't be racking up any bills for six months, isn't it? Meanwhile, they have to pay dues.

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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

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Old 06-26-2014
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Re: Health Insurance While Cruising

I have a friend who had a heart attack in France and they required him to pay his entire bill before letting him out of the hospital in order to go home. He was reimbursed once he got home, but was lucky he could front the tens of thousands it cost him. He even had a "travelers" policy. Of course this was much cheaper than the care in the US, but having to front the money could end a lot of people's cruising for sure.
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